Do you know about LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults) diabetes? It is a rare type of diabetes and affects 2 to 12% of people in the total population, usually adults over 35 years of age. Its causes are similar to type 1 diabetes, in which antibodies attack the pancreas and affect the ability to produce insulin. But later on, people with LADA can produce insulin but cells don’t utilize it efficiently which causes similar symptoms and complications as type 2 diabetes. There is no specific treatment available, so the doctor only focuses on reducing your symptoms and preserving pancreatic cells.
Learn in detail about diabetes LADA in this article.
LADA is caused by the development of autoantibodies which affect pancreatic cells, insulin production, and enzymes that help pancreatic functions. These antibodies attack the pancreas and affect its functions, which impairs the ability of the pancreas to respond to blood sugar by producing insulin. Experts believe that LADA shares some genetic features from both type 1 and type 2 diabetes and hence, it is called 1.5 type of diabetes. However, researchers are still looking at how any specific genetic factors exist for LADA.
Certain risk factors that increase your risk of developing LADA are:
- Being overweight or obese
- Low physical activity
- Low birth weight
Researchers also suggest that people with multiple risk factors may have higher chances of developing LDA. For example, the combination of low birth weight and being overweight as an adult may increase your risk of developing LADA. Chronic stress may also be a considerable factor that leads to LADA.
People with LADA experience many symptoms such as ketoacidosis, which is a life-threatening condition that produces a fruity odor on the breath and high blood sugar. Other symptoms are somewhat similar to type 1 and type 2 diabetes, including:
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Increased hungriness
- Extreme fatigue
- Cuts and bruises that heal slowly
- Blurry vision
- Weight loss despite eating properly
- Tingling or numbness in hands or feet.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should visit your doctor for an early diagnosis to confirm your condition and be treated accordingly.
LADA vs. other types
LADA is different from type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but still somewhat similar as well because it occurs in people above 35 and have deficiencies in insulin or decreased functionality of insulin which is similar to type 1 diabetes and people with LADA also have lower body mass index (BMI) which is like type 1 diabetes. By looking at these similarities doctors sometimes call this type 1.5 diabetes.
But it is still different from them because type 1 diabetes is caused by autoimmune conditions, in which the immune system thinks the pancreas is a threat and releases antibodies to attack the cells of the pancreas which impair their functions to produce insulin which manages the blood sugar levels. It mostly occurs at 5 to 7 years of age or around puberty. Type 2 diabetes occurs from a metabolic disease that results from defective insulin activity. It affects middle-aged and older adults with high blood sugar levels due to their poor lifestyle choices and eating habits. That is the reason LADA is similar to both types of diabetes but different from them as well.
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